Hassi R'Mel gas field, Algeria

Workers and unemployed youth have been largely unsatisfied with the working conditions and practices of Sonatrach in Hassi R'Mel.


Hassi R'Mel, Algeria's largest natural gas field, was discovered in 1956 alongside the Hassi Messaoud oil field, and has also been operated by state-owned company Sonatrach ever since. Production of natural gas started in 1961, and in 1964 Algeria became the first country to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). Natural gas from Hassi R’Mel is supplied to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Tunisia, Italy, and Slovenia through three major export pipelines.

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Basic Data
NameHassi R'Mel gas field, Algeria
ProvinceLaghouat Province
SiteHassi R'Mel
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Gas flaring
Oil and gas refining
Specific CommoditiesNatural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAlgeria's largest natural gas field Hassi R'mel holds recoverable reserves of about 2.415 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and accounted for three-fifths of Algeria's gross natural gas production in 2012.

Annual producing capacity is around 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Project Area (in hectares)350,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population10,000 – 16,000
Start Date01/01/2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesSonatrach from Algeria
Relevant government actorsSonatrach
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersComité de soutien au syndicalisme autonome algérien (CISA), http://cisa-algerie.com/

Coordination nationale pour le changement et la démocratie (CNCD), https://www.facebook.com/CNCD2011

Comité national pour la défense des droits des chômeurs (CNDDC), https://www.facebook.com/pages/COMIT%C3%89-NATIONAL-POUR-LA-D%C3%89FENSE-DES-DROITS-DES-CH%C3%94MEURS/170428203010627
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingIndustrial workers
Trade unions
Forms of MobilizationStrikes
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseUnder negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The conflict between Sonatrach and local resident workers as well as unemployed youth groups does not seem to come to an end in the near future as concessions previously made were mainly deemed not satisfactory by the workers.
Sources and Materials

Bencherif, D. (2003), Giant Hassi R'Mel gas field, AAPG Hedberg Conference, 18-20 February 2003, Algiers, Algeria
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U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) (2014), Country Analysis Brief: Algeria, July 2014
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Hunger strike to earn their keep, by Youcef Boumidouna, FRANCE 24 Observers, International News, Algeria, 10 August 2010
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Vivre parmi les scorpions dans le bidonville de Hassi R'mel, by Mustapha Benfodil, El Watan, 22 September 2012
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Algérie: des employés du site pétrolier de Hassi R'mel en grève de la faim illimitée, by Abdelaziz Bouteflika, RFI France, 4 June 2013
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La société civile donne de la voix, by Mélissa Rahmouni, Courrier International, 16 February 2012
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Algérie: la révolte sociale s'étend aux salariés de Sonatrach dans le Sahara, Algeria Watch, Comité international de soutien au syndicalisme autonome algérien (CISA), 9 March 2011
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Sonatrach: grève de la faim à Hassi R'Mel, by Mina Adel, El Watan, Algeria-Watch, 20 December 2011
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Sonatrach – Hassi R'Mel: la direction générale fait des concessions; “pas assez” disent les travailleurs, Le Matin, 9 March 2011
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Media Links

Sonatrach, Algeria Map
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VIDEO: Hunger strike to earn their keep, FRANCE 24
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VIDEO: Hunger strikers in Hassi R'mel,
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PHOTOS of the protest camp: Hunger strike to earn their keep, FRANCE 24
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Other Documents

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Meta Information
Last update13/10/2015